I was raised with the discipline of dance. Leaving dance as an adult
left me with a void that was more than physical. After exploring
many forms of physical activities, I was introduced to yoga and knew
instantly what I was seeking was within this practice. Yoga is a
philosophy, a science and an art. It is also a therapy. I began to
develop a positive sense a of well-being and a reality that my
reaction is the only true armor I have against internal and global
On September 11th this sense of well-being was deeply shaken and
replaced with feelings of chaos. I felt an urgent need for a deeper
connection, not just with my inner circle, family and friends, but a
more personal connection with purpose and direction in my life. In
my new series, I seek to regain harmony not just from a sense of
internal balance but an extension of this balance to include the
environment within our personal universe. In these paintings, I
revisit places and experiences that have brought me joy and peace,
and in doing so have regained rhythm in my life.
In my current series, I am investigating not only my personal
heritage, but my artistic background as well. In both my parents'
and grandparents' homes, I was introduced to old world English and
French oils as well as etchings and lithographs dating from the
1700's. When I began my personal collection, the oils were stored to
make room for contemporary pieces, but the etchings remained. In
this art form, I have always found fascination with the strength of
the line, the dark to light contrast and even the intrigue of the
Though old world oils no longer hang on my walls, the memory of the
color is always with me. Three years ago a friend gave me some
pigments she had bought in the French town, Roussillon. The purity
of the color seemed to give my work new life.
The following year I visited Roussillon in order to dig pigments of
my next body of work. The mounds of reds and ocres rising from the
earth, the veins of blues and greens resulting from mineral deposits
have forever changed the way I experience color. I was surprised to
find myself drawn to the Brogans in the small towns in Provence.
There I went through portfolios of etchings, lithographs, and prints
looking for inspiration. I'm not certain of the process that led the
two to merge, but the result has been both emotionally and
academically challenging. I used the existing light source in the
etchings and continued it into the painting where black and whites
against aged paper give way to the vibrant color of Roussillon.
Though collage has always been an important element in my work, by
using something of a precious nature, I have felt both a strong
connection and a responsibility to those who have preceded me.
The figure has always played an important role in my paintings. In
the new series, however, the position of the figure is held by the
viewer as he searches his own history. As I feel my work moving more
closely to abstraction, it is interesting to me that my tool would
be such a realistic art form.
"A Trek Through The Prism"
In my work, the transparencies of paint, varnish and wax help me
create layers that signify each individual's personal journey. When
I paint, a figure may appear, only to disappear behind a tree or a
shadowy back drop of an old building or a classical archway. This
interaction continues until I feel I actually experience the balance
in existence when man becomes harmonious with his environment.
The complexity of this process captivates me. Joy, sadness and even
grief are layers in the human consciousness that contribute to
life's experiences, creating openings for deeper knowledge.
Connection with the environment allows u to investigate our own
continuance and resilience and to gain a deeper appreciation for
Museums and Galleries
The Rich Painterly Universe of Felice Sharp
by Jane F. Garvey
Figures and trees
juxtaposed create the imagery of Felice Sharp's artistic universe. A
former dancer and current yoga instructor, The Atlanta-based artist
is very aware of physical form, fluid movement, and graceful lines,
all of which shape the figurative character of her work.
"The investigation of the figure from all angles is because of my
involvement in dance and yoga," she says. Slim and lithe, her own
physical presence is dynamic, angular, and vital. Her hands and arms
are in constant motion as she describes her work. The figures she
draws are suggestive, not detailed, and always strike peaceful
poses, perhaps another influence of yoga. None ever is erratic,
frantic or unbalanced.
Colors seem at first simple, but on further exploration, they reveal
themselves to be complex constructs of texture as well as color.
"It's encaustic," she explains, detailing for me how she subjects
this mix of wax and pigment to rubbing and scraping. Layers of paint
and surface textures yield to her cloth as she moves it vigorously
over the surface. The surface quickly acquires a luminous, rich
quality, and other colors emerge from beneath the surface as they
shed this superficial robe of material. Suddenly, so does another
tree. Or another figure. The waxes are themselves transparent, and
occasionally she will trace a sharp object through a color to add a
line of texture to it.
This built-up paint-and-wax surface obscures layers of colors,
revealed as the buffing progresses, and crafting a rich surface that
is as fascinating and full of detail as the subject matter. Figures
often are paired, as coupling seems an important theme. But, in
addition, contemplative and monklike solo figures wander wooded
landscapes, their trees devoid of leaves, in a dreamlike world. The
strict rigidity of the trees contrasts with the softer flowing lines
of the figures, suggesting both discipline and softness. Something
about this work seem very Asian.
Trained in art at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), Felice
Sharp is a disciplined artist, who works every day in her studio up
on the third level of her townhouse. After yoga comes a day of
working on the floor, surrounded by materials, her paint-covered
artist's robe and telephone color are testimonials to her labors.
Grandson Max, 2, has his own work on the easel today. His bold
colors with an abstract figurative element at the canvas's center
reflects the fact that he's been watching Grandmother at work. She
nearly melts describing how it delights her to watch Max at his
In more recent work, Sharp's figures are becoming increasingly
abstract, and architectural elements join the landscape. The figure
in these pieces abandons a sylvan world for a more urban one, but
the figure still emerges as central to the work while architectural
elements lend background support. This is a rich universe, one in
which color, figure and geometric forms tussle for the eyes
Small works, measuring 20 x 20 or so, illustrate a similarly rich
universe, enhanced by exquisite surface textures. Squares of canvas
in a floating mount ripple and buckle under glass, seeming to add
movement to a work. Edges, purposefully left a bit uneven and
unfinished, add their own textures to the richness.
Unlike a lot of artists, Felice Sharp does not shun commissions.
"They're a challenge," she says of commissions. "You know, you can't
always have total freedom. You sometimes have to work with
But within the limitations imposed by the confines of canvas and
color, Felice Sharp finds extraordinary and seemingly limitless